Buffy blew out an impatient sigh and fidgeted precariously on the edge of Giles' bathtub.
"So you saw their faces, but you can't describe them," she repeated.
Spike nodded earnestly, then gave up the act and rolled his eyes. "Well, they were human. Two eyes each, kind of in the middle…"
She closed her eyes, tuned his blather out, clenched her fists and slowly counted to three. "Okay. How long are you going to pull this crap?"
"How long am I going to live once I tell you?"
The nails on her tight, clenched fingers were starting to dig into her palms. God, this was her life. It was a glorious, beautiful sunny day. And was she out enjoying it with her friends, with…with Riley? No, she was not. She was stuck in her watcher's apartment, with no TV at all. And a vampire. Who was chained to the bathtub. And she had to pee. God, this was her life…
She squirmed uncomfortably. It was going to be a long afternoon.
She stopped back at the dorm on her way to meet Riley, and nearly crashed into Xander.
"Hey," she said.
"Hey, Buffster. What are you doing here?"
She nodded to the dorm. "I live here. You?"
"Ah, right. I'm, um…"
"Looking for Willow? Worried about her and wanting to check up on her?"
She squeezed his hand. "It's okay. I mean, sure, she's a little on the…well, down side, I guess, but hey, scary commandos, work to be done, and nothing says distraction like mayhem and death, right? Giles booked her for some truth-spell thingie. I mean, she loves magic, right? So that should…take her mind off things."
"I don't know, Buff, magic, that kind of wigs. I mean, its so…so unpredictable. So…so primal. It's like it's…oh, gosh, there a word I'm looking for, you know? It's…"
He snapped his fingers. "Yes, that's right! It's…oh. Well, you know."
"I do," she reassured him. "And Xand, I'd really like to stay and debate this with you, but I'm meeting Riley, in, like, soon and I really have to pee, so you're just going to have to trust me when I tell you that Willow is FINE!"
She tossed him a brief, breathless smile, then hurried away.
"Right," he said, watching her departing figure with a dubious frown. "Fine."
Distraction really WAS the best way to deal, and she threw herself into it. Picnics with Riley, drinking with the gang…and sure, Willow was there and she was seeing her and talking with her, and there was definitely concern, and she knew she should really…well, she would, wouldn't she? AFTER the picnic. AFTER the Bronze. And when she tucked a drunken Willow into bed later (that much alcohol's gotta just knock her right out, poor thing, but a solid night's sleep will be good for her, Buffy mused) the day's activities finally caught up with her. She lay down on her own bed, drained of adrenaline, mind wandering, moonlight casting a sleepy glow on poor, sad Willow…and she finally started processing. Poor thing. It's gonna take time, she had told her. Platitudes. Only half-paying attention. That's not good enough, Willow had said. Isn't there someway I can just make it go away? Just 'cause I say so? Can't I just make it go 'poof'?
It didn't work like that. Did it?
She caught up with Willow again after class, and found her friend pacing the dorm room, seething.
"I mean, I'm going through something," greeted Willow with a wounded pout. "I just don't see why he was getting down on me."
She gave Willow a dubious stare, and with some coaxing, finally got her to slow down and start from the beginning. Giles had come. Giles had talked to her. And he didn't understand.
"Giles just worries," Buffy reassured her. "Spells can be dangerous."
Willow sunk to the bed, deflated. "I'm not kidding anyone. If I had any real power, I could have made Oz stay with me."
"Will, you wouldn't have wanted him to have stayed— "
"And my "I Will it So" spell went nowhere…"
She held up a hand, and answered the ringing phone, face darkening as Giles shouted instructions into her ear.
"Spike escaped," she told Willow, hanging up the phone.
Willow frowned. "A-and you're going? Now?"
"Sorry. Duty thing."
"I don't see the big. He's probably just standing out there. You could find him in two seconds."
Buffy sighed. "Will, I can't hang out with you until I get Spike back to Giles, you know that. Okay, I'll be back as soon as I can. I promise."
"Well, fine," grumped Willow, watching Buffy go. "You like being with Giles so much? Why don't you just MARRY him?"
Somewhere, across town, a spark of light popped in Giles' eyes as his vision abruptly sharpened and cleared. There was a sparkle of light as the new spell took residence inside him in place of the old one, and outside of the dorm, Buffy nearly crashed into Spike. In her sudden and inexplicably urgent need to see Giles, she was able to restrain and subdue him far more quickly than usual.
Xander clambered up the steps to Giles' apartment, banging anxiously on the door. "Giles, Buffy, help me," he shouted. "I have a huge problem, and…"
The door popped open, and his jaw dropped. There was Buffy, standing in the entryway, skirt hiked up to her hips and legs wrapped gleefully around…Giles? Who had HIS…well, not legs, wrapped around HER…
"How do they DO that?" he muttered under his breath. "I mean, that's…"
Spike, newly chained to Giles desk chair, nodded casually in greeting. "Hey, mate. Looks like you aren't the only with problems."
"What? How? What?"
"Three bloody excellent questions." Spike rattled his chain gloomily. "Least YOU can cover your eyes. I'm all…"
"Sure, sure, very tragic and all, but I am the one with the demons after me!"
"Really? Sounds fun."
During his nod of agreement, Xander's eyes accidentally strayed to the grisly tableau before him. Somehow, in the time his eyes had been averted, Buffy had removed her sweater and was stripped down to a white tanktop that strained against her warm, working muscles.
"Oh, Giles," she breathed.
"Slow down, love," he gasped, breathing heavily. "We've plenty of time…"
"I know," she gushed. "An eternity."
Xander goggled his eyes. "A WHAT?"
"I know," drawled Spike. "That was my thought too. But the bloody lustbunny barely even paused to give her the ring, never mind give ME the explanation…"
"The ring?" croaked Xander.
"Love, stop," wheezed Giles. "I…can't…"
"Oh, sweetheart," soothed Buffy. She stopped the thrusting at once. "It's my slayer stamina, isn't it?"
"A…little…" he choked.
"You know, we're going to have to work on this," she told him, wagging her finger. "This is who I am, you know."
"I can't go changing to try to please you."
"And all I wanna do is have some fun,"
"And furthermore, I am WAY too sexy for this…"
"Yes, yes, but Buffy, you are forgetting that there ARE other ways we can amuse ourselves. Take advantage of MY special skills, for example."
She frowned thoughtfully. "Your hot bod?"
"That's rather the same thing."
"Your giant squishy brain?"
"Buffy, sweetheart, beloved…"
She suddenly brightened. "You DO have a giant squishy brain, don't you? This really COULD be useful. I bet you're VERY good at games."
He sighed tiredly. "Cupcake…"
She smirked lasciviously. "You ever play poker?"
Suddenly, he caught her drift. "That game DOES have many interesting variations…"
Xander and Spike traded panicked glances. "They wouldn't!" said Xander.
"They would," affirmed Spike.
Xander sighed. "This is wrong on so many levels. I mean, Buffy, naked, that would normally be…the stuff of every wet dream I have had in the last three years. And to finally have it within my grasp, only to be told I can't have it unless I take the GILES naked too…"
Spike nodded. "True. But Giles DOES have a very squishy brain. He wouldn't…he wouldn't LOSE, would he?"
"No," said Buffy, raised voice rising above the din of the conversation. "I am SO not letting a stud like you wimp out. Socks do NOT count in strip poker, Rupert Giles!"
"I so need to run away," choked Xander, near tears. "But there are demons after me."
Spike appraised the situation swiftly. "Tell you what, bloke, untie me and we can BOTH skedaddle. And I'll take care of your demon problem for you."
"Sure, why not. I could use a rumble."
Willow lay on her bed, so caught up in her gloomy wallow that she didn't hear the knock on the door. She nearly jumped a foot into the air when she noticed Anya standing beside her, smiling placidly.
"Um, hi," she sputtered. "Can I…help you?"
"Xander," the former demon said without preamble. "He's in trouble."
Willow jumped off the bed. "He is?"
Anya nodded. "We were attempting to copulate when a demon attacked us. Xander panicked and ran out without telling me where he was going."
"We should probably go to Giles," she said, concern for Xander finally snapping out of her reverie. "Giles will know what to do."
Anya nodded, but did not speak again until they arrived at Giles' apartment to find the watcher and his slayer energetically pawing each other's intimate areas, too frenzied with lust to even take off their clothes.
"Giles is supposed to know what to do," whimpered Willow, traumatized.
"I'd say he does," said Anya approvingly. "You know, I'd expect HER to be so bendy being the slayer and all, but HE'S performing rather impressively under the circumstances."
"You know," said Anya. "If they stopped interlocking for long enough to move that table out of the way, it would be MUCH easier. He wouldn't have to stretch so far."
"Hello, demons? Xander?"
"Right, right, we'll get to that," said Anya. "Just let them finish this part first. I'm taking notes so I can try it later with Xander."
"Not sure I sweat QUITE that much myself," said Anya, gazing placidly at Buffy's flailing arm. "I suppose I'll have to buy some lubricant."
"Giles!" screeched Willow desperately. "Oh, ewwwww. Help!"
She covered her eyes and burst into tears.
Spike and Xander strolled casually through the cemetery. Spike kicked a stone with his foot.
"So, do you have ANY idea where we're going?"
Xander shrugged. "Not really. I was thinking we would just be out there, you know, and the demon would just find me or something. Like he did last time."
Spike nodded. "Uh huh. You really aren't the slickest condom in the wallet, are you, mate?"
"Oh, ewwwww. This is SO is not the day for sex metaphors!"
"Right. Poor innocent boy's been corrupted by the site of nekkid British flesh crawling all over his sandbox mate. Cry me a bloody river. Ponce."
"Hey! You just called me stupid, right?"
"Don't miss a trick, do you?"
"And…you did it before! Like, half a minute ago! With the sex metaphor, right? That was you calling me stupid!"
"And this surprises you because…"
"Oh, oh, oh," he shrieked girlishly. "Demon!"
Spike looked behind him. "Huh. Looks like. Guess you were right, we stand around like blooming idiots for long enough and trouble really WILL find us."
Spike pulled a dagger from his pocket and handily slew the demon with a single off-hand blow. "Right, then. Let's get you back to the shagfest so you can pry the lovers apart and find out what happened to 'em, eh?"
Buffy was the harder one to subdue on account of the slayer strength, but finally, working together, they managed to pry her slick, wet body away from Giles and plop her on the couch, arm's length away from the still-panting watcher. He had been wrapped in a blanket and issued a cup of tea by Anya as he recovered from his exertions. Instinctively, he reached his hand toward Buffy.
"Uh uh," said Willow. "No touching."
Buffy pouted. "Meanie."
"That's 'meanie-with-clothes-and-sanity-intact-unlike-some-people' to you, missy. Behave."
The pout deepened. "I thought you were my friend," whined Buffy. "And here you are, spoiling what's supposed to be the happiest day of my life."
"The happiest day of your…what?"
"The day I got engaged," explained Buffy. "The happiest day of my life. And you're RUINING it, Willow Rosenberg."
"Engaged?" shrieked Willow. "You got ENAGAGED? How the HELL did that happen?"
"It's not hell, it's beautiful. Giles asked me to marry him, and I accepted."
"When did this happen?"
"This morning. He called me and told me to go find Spike. You said it would only take a minute, and you were right, and then I brought him over, and Giles asked me to marry him, and I'm gonna marry him cause I'm the luckiest girl in the world…"
Giles, somewhat recovered, clasped his hand to his chest. "Oh, sweetheart…"
The blanket slid carelessly to his knees. He was completely nude except for red satin boxers that strained at the seams. He fidgeted, rubbing his hand against his swollen shorts as if in pain, and glanced hungrily at Buffy.
The door flew open, and Xander burst in, Spike trailing behind him. "Willow, thank god!" he breathed. "Something is wrong and there are demons after me and I would have died a hundred times over on my way back here if Spike didn't save me over and over and over again, and good god, are those SATIN boxers?"
Willow slowly pieced it together. "I told you you would find Spike in two minutes," she repeated back to Buffy. "And then I said…that if you loved doing stuff with Giles so much, you should just marry him!" She whirled on Xander. "And I called YOU a demon magnet, and now there are demons after you. It worked! My 'will it to be so' spell worked!"
"Celebrate later, fight now," Xander choked out. "Behind you…"
Willow shrieked. "Buffy, Giles, look out!"
Xander dove onto the shiny brown demon and wrestled it to the floor, fighting madly. Buffy and Giles, free at last from Willow's uttered restraint, lunged at each other hungrily.
Spike let the various piles of flailing limbs go at it for a full minute before he pulled out his knife and casually dispatched the offending demon.
The flailing stopped. Willow pulled away from them, sheepishly drew her knees to her chest and solemnly whispered "As these words of peace are spoken, let this harmful spell be broken."
There was a flash of light. Xander and Anya stood, rubbing their eyes, and Buffy and Giles froze mid-embrace. Giles slowly drew himself back, still panting, and blushing furiously in embarrassment. He was half pulled away from her before she grabbed his shoulder and restrained him. "Wait a minute. This isn't so bad."
He blinked. "It's…it's not?"
"Actually, no. That was kind of…nice, wasn't it?"
"It…you know, it was."
Buffy smiled and pulled him close again. "Huh. Imagine that."
Willow withdrew the pan of cookies from the oven. "Look, cookies. A very not-evil thing I did. Oatmeal?"
Xander munched the cookie happily. "Yum. I am loving this guilt thing. Buffy, what have you got?"
The timer dinged and Buffy rose from the couch. "Brownies."
"With nuts or without?"
"Without, of course. Oooh, and with little marshmallows on top."
"Bring it on, baby." Abruptly, he blushed. "Only not in THAT way. You know."
Spike rolled his eyes. "Great. He has issues now."
"Shut up, Spike."
"You know, I'm kind of hurt that you tied me all up again after I saved your sorry hides."
"Hides," groaned Xander. "Ewwww. So not needing that mental image right now."
Buffy returned with her tray of brownies. "Poor traumatized Xander. Eat a brownie, ease your pain?"
"You don't even feel the least bit guilty, do you?" he pouted.
"Well, magic is BAD," said Buffy sternly to Willow. Willow nodded in agreement. "Yes. Yes it is."
"But you know…you kind of did us a favour. It's like…like there was these floodgates, and they just…OPENED…"
"Oh god," moaned Xander.
"And he's just the most incredible…" she suddenly fidgeted, eyes glazing slightly, thighs pressing together.
"Oh god oh god oh god," moaned Xander. "Buffy, I swear, if you are actually having an orgasm in front of me, there are not enough brownies in the world…"
"And we had these feelings that were buried in us all along, and that spell…it brought them all to the surface," continued Buffy.
"La la la la la," hummed Xander, plugging his ears.
Willow beamed. "So you and Giles are still…"
"NC-17-ing? Heck, yeah. I'm a college student and he's unemployed. Do you know any other couples with so much free time?"
Willow grinned. "Well, I'm glad SOME good came out of it, at least. So Riley's out of the picture, huh?"
"Not only is he out of the picture, but the camera is completely out of film," said Buffy. "Let's just say that Giles and I…well, we haven't officially…exactly…called OFF the engagement yet."
"Oh, Buffy," breathed Willow.
"Yes," said Xander loudly. "Let's just say that. Let's say ONLY that and provide no further details ever, ever again. And no demonstrations, either."
Buffy swatted his arm. "Oh, Xander…"
She heard sudden footsteps on the stairs, and abruptly moaned. "Oh god, do I look okay? Xander, if you were Giles would you want to have sex with my right here, right now, on the table?"
"God save me," whined Xander. "Buffy, please…"
Giles pushed open the door with his foot, arms loaded down with shopping bags and an impressive parcel of flowers. "Xander, Willow, hello," he said. "You'll be leaving now?"
Willow smirked and grabbed Xander's hand. "Yup. Bye Buffy."
"What about me?" said Spike.
"Bye, Will," said Buffy. She shut the door behind them. They didn't even waste time with hellos but flew at each other, clawing like animals, moaning loudly, bodies bathed in sweat and limbs thrashing.
Chained to the desk chair, forgotten, Spike strained against his bonds. "What about me? Hey, everyone…hello? Not needing the porn show…you gonna untie me now?"
There were growls, and they weren't coming from him. "Anyone? Hello?"